Friends of the Wild Flower Garden
Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary
At the end of the path from the front gate of the garden to the Martha Crone Shelter will be found a large granite boulder bearing a dedication to Eloise Butler. The boulder was placed the year following her death and originally sat in front of a Pin Oak tree that was planted in her memory. Today the tablet is shaded by a large Leatherwood Shrub. The text of the dedication tablet reads as follows:
In loving memory of Eloise Butler (1851-1933), teacher of botany in Minneapolis Schools, Founder and first curator of this native plant reserve. This oak has been planted and this tablet erected by a grateful public.
To this sequestered glen Miss Butler brought beautiful native plants from all sections of our state and tended them with patient care. This priceless garden is our heritage from her and its continued preservation a living testimony of our appreciation. Here her ashes are scattered and here her protective spirit lingers.
Dedicated Arbor Day 1934
(Click on the photo for a larger image)
(Additional detail on the creation of the tablet and the dedication)
Clinton Odell was the founder of Friends of the Wild Flower Garden. In the newspaper photo below from June 14, 1959 are: left - Mrs. Carroll Binder (Dorothy) was one of the founders of the Friends and at the time, was president; -center- Martha Crone was also a founder of the Friends and at the time was secretary/treasurer and editor of The Fringed Gentian™. She had just retired from the position of Garden Curator; -right- Mrs. Clinton Odell (Amy).
Contributors to the Odell Bench were: Elizabeth Carpenter, John T. Magaw, Ebba Tolg, Dorothy Binder, Wm. H. Hale, Mr. & Mrs. R. Leuthold, Mrs. C. S. Hoyt, George Luxton, Earle Brown, Mr. R. E. Cole, Mr. S. W. Dwinnell, Martha Crone.
Above: The dedication tablet on the Odell bench in the Upland Garden. 2nd photo: The dedication tablet for the bird bath in memory of Amy H. Odell who passed away on December 7, 1966.
Below: A pair of Kasota Limestone benches dedicated to Clinton Odell, located just off the patio area in front of the Martha Crone Visitor's Shelter in the Woodland Garden near the location of the former Garden Office (dedication tablet - small photo). These were presented by his daughter, Moana Odell Beim; installed in 1960. They replaced a pair of wooden "settees" that at the time, were very close to the site of the old "office."
The bird bath of Kasota limestone, is dedicated to Amy H. Odell, spouse of Clinton Odell; it was presented by family and friends in 1968, and is located between the two benches. In early 2018 a tree fell on the bird bath and cracked the basin. The cement shop foreman of the Park Board formed a new limestone top to match the original (larger photo below). (photos G D Bebeau).
Funding for the memorial came to The Friends via a $5,000 gift from the Baker Family that was administered by People for Parks. The history of the Baker bench is explained in this letter to The Friends from Zachary Baker:
I am a native of Minneapolis, and last lived there about 30 years ago. I visit the Wild Flower Garden whenever I get back to town – some of my earliest childhood memories are connected with outings there. For my mother, the late Marjorie Baker, the Garden was a very special place, and after she passed away (1973) my father arranged to have plaques in her memory placed by two benches – one in the forest garden, the other in the prairie garden. My father, Mike Baker, died a little over a year ago, and I have been to the Garden several times during visits connected with estate matters. I feel that the very least I can to is to join the Friends as a sponsor. That way, the Baker family will maintain its connection to the Garden for the present and future. Zachary Baker.
The initial plans for the Martha Crone Shelter called for a Franklin Stove as a fireplace was thought to be too expensive for the Friends' budget. That is when Friends members Mr. & Mrs. Alexander Dean stepped in and provided the funds to construct a fireplace, the exterior of which is cut stone from Wisconsin.
The large copper hood was also by the Deans - all as a memorial in memory of their daughter Kathleen Dean Hillman, who died at age 25. Contributing to the memorial were Kathleen's Girl Scout friends. A plaque about the dedication is mounted on the wall to the right of the hood. A photo of her friends who visited the shelter years later is posted in the Summer section of our 2007 history.
Louise had organized and counseled family-life groups in Minneapolis more than forty years and wrote a column entitled "Let's Be Better" for the Edina Courier from 1950 to 1960. She was also an author, her first book being This side of the stars, which was mentioned in The Fringed Gentian™ Vol. 6 No. 3., in July 1958. Louise had gifted the cost in 1970 of the original book of memorials that was displayed in the Martha Crone Shelter after it was dedicated. This book had a fancy custom made cover with pages that were hole-punched for insertion after they were engraved. The book was made by Mr. Otto Japs of Japs-Olson Printing and he engraved the pages, which were divided into two sections of the book. One section for the donors to the building of the Crone Shelter and one section for other memorials. The book was stolen from the shelter in later years. [From Friends minutes and secretaries notes of 1969 and 1970]
Her husband, Gerald H. Burgess, had passed away suddenly on April 29 1938. He was the owner of the Panama Carbon Company in Minneapolis and was the donor of a number of plants in the early 1930's when Martha Crone was curator. He and Gertrude Cram visited Martha Crone in the Garden on July 13, 1933 and in the summer of 1934 he provided some Azure Bluets, (Houstonia caerulea); Yellow Corydalis (yellow fumewort), (Corydalis flavula); Walking Fern (Asplenium rhizophyllum); Hay-Scented Fern; (Dicksonia punctilobula; Marginal Wood Fern (Dryopteris marginalis) and Christmas Fern (Polystichum acrostichoides). Some of these species were new to the Garden. In 1939 Martha received a donation of 100 Hay-scented ferns (Dennstaedtia punctilobula) in his memory.
GRIMES BIRDBATH: The Friends received a $1,000 bequest from the estate of Dr. Marian Grimes who had been the coordinator of volunteers for the Martha Crone Shelter from 1971 through 1980. After reviewing projects for the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden that were feasible with the amount, the Friends Board voted on October 21, 1989 to procure a stone bird bath for the Upland Prairie Garden. This would be a counterpoint to the 1917 bird bath in the lower Woodland Garden.
Board member Geri Benavides was going to put the plan together. The story of finding the stone and having it carved is related in this article.
The 81 x 42 inch Walnut table in the Martha Crone Shelter was a gift of Ms. Elizabeth Schutt in memory of her mother, Mrs. Clara M. Schutt, who was a good friend of Eloise Butler and from whose property, Eloise Butler acquired plant specimens for the Garden.
Ken Avery Birding Terrace
Kenneth Avery fulfilled the role of Garden Curator for the Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden and Bird Sanctuary, succeeding Martha Crone. In 2004 The Friends and the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board came up with the design and the Friends provided funds for the creation of the Ken Avery Birding Terrace in remembrance of Ken and the dedication he gave to the Garden. It is situated on a small plateau on the back path that goes from the Woodland Garden up to the Upland Garden. Installation was in the spring of 2005. There are three wood benches made by Earl F. Anderson Inc.; a basalt column carved bird bath from Hedberg Aggregates and a dedication plaque on the birdbath made by Awards by Hammond, Inc. The surrounding area was planted 350 new shrubs and herbaceous plants. Total cost was $5,504. (Photos G D Bebeau)
Below: The Avery Birding Terrace in late April before new plant growth. An early April birding group, led by naturalist Tammy Mercer (with staff in hand), at the Ken Avery Birding Terrace, 2006 (Photo Phoebe Waugh).
Cary George Wetland Bridge
Cary George was the 4th person entrusted with the daily care of the Wildflower Garden. He succeeded Ken Avery who retired at the end of 1986. Cary was gardener through the end of 2003. In 2011 the Friends of the Wild Flower Garden began fundraising for a new bridge to replace the old cedar bridge over the water channel leading to the Garden pool. This project enlarged to encompass a boardwalk through that section of the wetland. The boardwalk was installed in July of 2015 and the bridge section was dedicated in honor of Cary George on September 20, 2015. (photos G D Bebeau)
Other special areas.